For several years ECPC has partnered with the European Head and Neck Society (EHNS) to deliver the Make Sense Campaign aiming to raise awareness of head and neck cancer.
2017 is the fifth consecutive year that ECPC has been working with the Make Sense Campaign Team to improve patients’ outcomes and move head and neck cancer up the European healthcare agenda.
The campaign currently spans many European countries, including Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain, The Netherlands, UK, Austria, Greece and Switzerland.
WHY DID ECPC GET INVOLVED?
Head and neck cancers are the 6th most common types of cancer in Europe with more than 150,000 new patients diagnosed every year. It is approximately half as common as lung cancer, but twice as common as cervical cancer. Despite its severity and increasing prevalence within society, there is little awareness of head and neck cancer, and patient outcomes remain very poor; 60% of people with head and neck cancer present with locally advanced disease at diagnosis and 60% of people diagnosed at an advanced stage die from the disease within 5 years. However, for those patients diagnosed in the early stages of the disease, there is an 80–90% survival rate.
Head and neck cancer not only alters the appearance and the personal functions of people with cancer, but it forces patients to reconsider their outlook on life, role within a family, professional and personal lives and their future. Moreover, even for a survivor, the ongoing effects of the disease have overpowering psychological and physical consequences.
The theme for the 2017 Make Sense Campaign is Supporting Survivorship, and its activities will focus on improving the lives of head & neck cancer survivors, helping them to ‘live better, live longer’.
As such, the 2017 Make Sense Campaign team is bringing the fight to the European level, by presenting to the European Parliament the specific needs, issues, and challenges of head and neck cancer survivors*
*Report from the meeting will be available soon.
Key Achievements within Make Sense Campaign so far:
EU Parliament Activities
In 2013, The Make Sense Campaign team with all the joint efforts, launched a White Paper “Head and Neck Cancer: The ‘Curable’ Cancer That Kills Over Half of All Sufferers. Why Not do Something About it?” in the European Parliament. In 2014 we have continued to build on this support by submitting a written question to, and by holding an open discussion with, the EU Commission resulting in a positive response. As a consequence, important, long-standing partnerships have been maintained and we have raised awareness of our campaign within the Parliament.
Patient Advocacy Activities
Head and neck cancer remains underdiagnosed, and those who are diagnosed require long-term support needs beyond their diagnosis and initial treatment. While there is representation for head and neck cancer patients at country level, over recent years a need was identified for a united network of patient advocacy groups was not in place. By establishing a European network it will be possible to support people with head and neck cancer at European level whilst creating opportunities to share current thinking and best practice.